New paradigm of reconfigurable computing enables the design of universal digital broadcast receivers for automotive and wireless connectivity markets
June 12, 2003 - Silicon Hive, the new business entity created through the Technology Incubator Program of Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI), today announced a comprehensive new hardware/software co-design solution that allows System-on-Chip (SoC) designers to leverage the performance advantage of reconfigurable computing – a breakthrough technology that pushes programmability and performance far beyond the limits of current DSP-based solutions. The BRESCA and AVISPA embedded processor cores and associated software libraries being introduced today by Silicon Hive are targeted at applications in software-defined radio.
In one consumer end application, the automotive radio market, these cores enable one low-cost programmable integrated circuit (IC) to replace the several IC modules that would otherwise be required for each radio broadcast format supported in the receiver. This single software-defined radio IC could be configured to receive digital satellite radio broadcast services, In Band On Channel (IBOC), Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB), or even support GPS features. Additionally, in the wireless LAN market, a single low-cost IC may be programmed with multiple wireless LAN standards, or even upgraded with new designs that improve performance or add new features.
These new reconfigurable computing solutions from Silicon Hive combine the flexibility of processor driven systems with the execution speed and low power consumption of ASICs. As a result, they can achieve the sustained data rates required to demodulate a radio receiver's digitized IF frequency (typically a frequency of several MHz). This makes it possible to adapt the receiver to virtually any broadcast standard simply by changing software. In addition to IF signal processing, the BRESCA and AVISPA cores can also perform all the required baseband and source processing in a receiver. Designed for integration into low-cost SoC solutions, they not only meet the cost, performance, flexibility and time-to-market requirements of high-volume consumer applications. Their programmability also enables OEMs to protect valuable application IP.
"Developing a totally new computer architecture to perform tasks that even the latest DSPs are simply not capable of handling is not enough," said Geoff Burns, product development manager at Silicon Hive. "You also need to provide a hardware and software development environment that allows designers to start using your solutions straight away, which is what we are releasing today."
The BRESCA core is a reconfigurable accelerator designed to provide the very high guaranteed throughput rates required for high-speed streaming data. The AVISPA is a reconfigurable accelerator targeted for block processing tasks such as transforms and frequency-domain equalizers. Both are soft cores that can be integrated alongside conventional processors, such as ARM and MIPS cores, into SoCs based on any available semiconductor process technology and industry-standard hardware design flows.
The BRESCA and AVISPA cores are fully ANSI C programmable, and are supplied with a comprehensive library of pre-compiled software modules that developers can assemble into software-defined radio solutions. The performance of both the cores and software libraries has been fully qualified for current digital satellite and digital terrestrial broadcast systems. An ANSI C compiler that will allow users to develop their own library components is currently being readied for release.
"The beauty of our reconfigurable cores is that you can instantly switch a low-cost receiver platform between different modulation schemes such as OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) and QPSK (Quadrature Phase-Shift Keying) simply by context switching the software, making a truly universal satellite/terrestrial broadcast receiver possible," said Burns.
About Royal Philips Electronics
Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands is one of the world's biggest electronics companies and Europe's largest, with sales of EUR 31.8 billion in 2002. It is a global leader in color television sets, lighting, electric shavers, medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring, and one-chip TV products. Its 166,000 employees in more than 60 countries are active in the areas of lighting, consumer electronics, domestic appliances, components, semiconductors, and medical systems. Philips is quoted on the NYSE (symbol: PHG), London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and other stock exchanges. News from Philips is located at www.semiconductors.philips.com
About Silicon Hive
Silicon Hive is a business entity created within the Philips Technology Incubator, an organization that creates new businesses based on world class technologies invented by Philips. Silicon Hive develops embedded reconfigurable processor cores that can be integrated using any semiconductor process technology and industry-standard hardware/software design flows. These C programmable soft cores provide highly flexible programmable solutions that give an unequalled combination of speed, programmability, low power consumption and low cost. Application domains for Silicon Hive's products lie in areas such as software defined radio, media processing, mobile communications, and wireless networking. For more information on Silicon Hive, visit www.siliconhive.com.
AVISPA and BRESCA are trademarks of Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.